by Bart Hazen of the Daily Peloton
Photos by Joe Sales
Veteran Erwin Vervecken (Revor Cycling Team) showed he is back in top form for the upcoming World Championships in Hoogerheide on February 1. The multiple World Champion, winner of the Koksijde World Cup earlier this year, won with a slight advantage over Zdenek Stybar. World Cup winner Sven Nys completed the podium. For Vervecken it’s his third win in Roubaix. He won the race previously when it wasn’t a World Cup in 2006 and 2008. In 2007 he was second behind Gerben de Knegt in a close sprint.
For Vervecken, both World Cups this season are special. The one in Koksijde was a farewell present to his former team Fidea and today’s win is special because it’s his first victory for the Revor Cycling Team.
On the tough course, Lars Boom had the best start followed by the Fidea duo of Bart Wellens and Zdenek Stybar. Wellens was eager for a top performance as he became father for the first time last week. His wife Lentel gave birth to daughter Lily.
Wellens showed he was very strong today and rode in the lead for two and a half laps. With seven laps to go there was a lead group of six with Bart Wellens, Lars Boom, Zdenek Stybar, Erwin Vervecken, Francis Mourey and Thijs Al. Belgian’s Sven Nys and Niels Albert seemed not to take any risks and were riding in a second group with, amongst others, Klaas Vantornout.
In the fifth lap French Champion Francis Mourey attacked with Dutch riders Al and Boom on his wheel. Half way through the lap the break got bigger and bigger with riders as Vervecken, Nys, Albert, Wellens and Stybar rejoining the break.
Just before the end of the lap it was time for Lars Boom to stretch his legs. The Dutch and World Champion took the initiative and only Erwin Vervecken was able to stay close to the flying Dutchman. But the exploit of Boom didn’t take long due to a shoe problem in the sixth lap. He was forced to step off his bike and clean his shoe as he was unable to clip into his pedal. Due to this he lost much time and finally finished as sixth, 1:26 down on the winner.
Halfway through the seventh lap still five riders were battling for the victory with Erwin Vervecken, Bart Wellens, Sven Nys, Niels Albert and Zdenek Stybar. Stybar’s handling skills were impressive as he was the only one of the riders in front who didn’t walk while descending the steep hill on the course.
With three laps to go Vervecken created a small gap and only Stybar and Nys were able to bridge across. The three stayed together until the final lap. Vervecken accelerated on the stairs with his long legs on the course creating a gap over Stybar and Nys. Stybar didn’t gave up while Nys was satisfied already with his third place.
In the final hundred meters Stybar came back to Vervecken his wheel but it wasn’t enough to take the win from his former teammate.
Jonathan Page was the best American at 30th, despite riding with broken ribs and the uncertainty of the pending USADA decision. American Champion Ryan Trebon was 35th while Jeremy Powers and the Canadians were lapped.
Next week the final round of the 2008/2009 World Cup will take place in Milano before the scene will head to Hoogerheide for the World Championships on January 31/February 1. Full results and photos below.
Photos by Joe Sales:
|12||3||DE KNEGT Gerben||NED||+02:23|
|16||35||FONTANA Marco Aurelio||ITA||+03:23|
|25||7||VAN AMERONGEN Thijs||NED||+05:46|
|31||6||VAN IJZENDOORN Eddy||NED||+06:44|
|33||8||VAN LEEUWEN Patrick||NED||+07:23|
|42||9||VAN HEESWIJK Roy||NED||-2LAP|
|47||61||ST JOHN Derrick||CAN||-4LAP|
|DNF||5||VAN GILS Wilant||NED||DNF8|